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Collection
General Thomas Welsh Family Papers
Object ID
MG0828_SeriesE
Date Range
1866-1925
Description Level
Series
Collection
General Thomas Welsh Family Papers
Description
This collection of eight documents covers the years 1866 through 1925 and consists primarily of recollections by various family members of the life of Thomas Welsh. The series also includes a family history and poems written by Thomas Welsh and his daughter Effie Welsh.
Admin/Biographical History
Thomas Welsh (1824-1863) was a Lancaster County native (born and raised in Columbia), who rose from hardscrabble origins to local fame, first as a Mexican War hero, and then as a brigadier general during the Civil War. He was well known and well respected as a no nonsense officer, for his leadership and gallantry in battle, for his dedication to the service of his country, and for his concern for the welfare of his men.
Welsh lost his father at the age of 2, and went to work to support his family at age 8. He had very little formal schooling, and was largely self-educated. In 1843, at age 19, he left Lancaster County for Washington City, then went west as an itinerant carpenter/laborer to Cincinnati, Little Rock, and Fort Smith.
When the Mexican War broke out in 1846, he enlisted in a Kentucky regiment, and was severely wounded at the battle of Buena Vista (1847) from which he never fully recovered. Returning home to Columbia, he re-enlisted as a second lieutenant, assigned to the 11th U.S. infantry regiment in Mexico City. Within days of his arrival in Mexico City, he was declared unfit for service on account of his battle wound, and sent home again.
Back in Columbia as a civilian, he dabbled in politics, and received a patronage job in the Pennsylvania Main Line of Public Works (the rail and canal system connecting Philadelphia and Pittsburgh). After several years, he opened up a grocery and dry goods store in Columbia's canal basin. He also became an insurance agent. In 1857, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and his reputation grew as a community leader. By 1860, he was president of the Borough Council, a founding member of the Columbia Board of Trade, Vice President of the Columbia Cricket Club, and a canal boat operator, in addition to a dry goods merchant, insurance agent, and Justice of the Peace. He had a wife, 5 surviving children, and legal guardianship of his sister's 4 children.
When Confederate forces shelled Fort Sumter, marking the beginning of the Civil War, Thomas Welsh raised and organized the first company of volunteers from Lancaster County, and took them into the field as their Captain. Within days, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, which served out its 90-day enlistment in the Shenandoah Valley.
Returning to Harrisburg, he was appointed Commandant of Camp Curtin, the problem-plagued processing center for new recruits. In short order, Welsh cleaned up the camp's poor sanitary conditions, improved the health of the camp, and implemented soldierly discipline and training.
In October 1861, he resigned from his camp duties, and as Colonel of the 45th Pennsylvania, led his regiment into the field. After brief service outside of Washington, they were sent to South Carolina in December, where they were posted to Otter Island. After the battle of James Island, they were recalled to Newport News, in July 1862, then sent to guard Aquia Creek.
In September, now in brigade command in Burnsides' 9th Corps, Welsh chased Lee's Confederate army west into central Maryland. His brigade broke the enemy line in Fox's Gap, on Sept. 14, then 3 days later achieved the furthest Union advance at Antietam, reaching the edge of Sharpsburg, and nearly cutting off Lee's only avenue of escape. Welsh's gallantry earned him a field promotion to brigadier general, which Congress confirmed on March 13, 1863.
The 9th Corps (Welsh now in command of the 1st Division) was sent west in the spring of 1863, then dispatched south to support Grant's investment of Vicksburg. After Vicksburg fell, they turned east and defeated Confederate General Johnston at the Battle of Jackson. Welsh contracted malaria in the southern swamps, and died in Cincinnati upon their return north. One of his men later recalled, "Had he lived, Welsh would undoubtedly have attained a much higher command. 1
1. Beauge, Eugene, in Albert, Allen D., Ed., History of the Forty-Fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 1861-1865, Williamsport, PA: Grit Publ. Co, 1912, p. 79.
Custodial History
Organized by Richard C. Wiggin prior to donation.
System of Arrangement
The collection is arranged in series:
Series A Thomas Welsh before the Mexican War
Series B Mexican War, 1846-1848
Series C Between the Mexican War and the Civil War, 1848-1861
Series D Ciivil War
Series E Post-Civil War
Series F Miscellaneous Family Papers
Date Range
1866-1925
Creation Date
1866-1925
Year Range From
1866
Year Range To
1925
Creator
Wiggin, Richard C.
People
Welsh, Thomas
Subjects
Poetry
Biography
United States—History—Civil War, 1861-1865
Letters
Mexican War, 1846-1848
Search Terms
Civil War
Genealogy
Family history
Mexican War
Poetry
Biography
Letters
Extent
8 folders
Object Name
Archive
Language
English
Condition
Poor to excellent
Condition Date
2020-12-29
Object ID
MG0828_SeriesE
Parent Object ID
MG0828
Classification
MG0828
Location
LancasterHistory
Room
Archives North
Container
MG0828 Box 1
Notes
Added to PP 12/29/2020 by HST
Provenance: Most items passed down through the family, Blanton Charles Welsh to Emilie Benson (Welsh) Wiggin to Nancy Jane (Wiggin) Townsend. Acquired from: Chuck Townsend, Knoxville, Tennessee, 2016/05/15.
Access Conditions / Restrictions
Please use digital images and transcriptions when available. Original documents may be used by appointment. Please contact research@lancasterhistory.org at least two weeks prior to visit.
Copyright
Images have been provided for research purposes only. Please contact research@lancasterhistory.org for a high-resolution image and permission to publish.
LancasterHistory retains the rights to the digital images and content presented. The doctrine of fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder. Fair use includes comment, criticism, teaching, and private scholarship. Any images and data downloaded, printed or photocopied for these purposes should provide a citation. All other uses beyond those allowed by fair use require written permission.
Permission for reproduction and/or publication must be obtained in writing from LancasterHistory. Some items are photocopies from other collections--researchers must obtain permission for reproduction and publication from the owner of the original material.
Persons wishing to publish any material from this site must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright or other use restrictions. Publication fees may apply.
Credit
Courtesy of LancasterHistory, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Less detail
Collection
General Thomas Welsh Family Papers
Object ID
MG0828_SeriesA
Date Range
1839-1845
Description Level
Series
Collection
General Thomas Welsh Family Papers
Description
The twenty-three miscellaneous writings in this series cover the period 1839 through 1845 before Welsh enlisted in a Kentucky regiment when the Mexican War broke out in 1846. The series consists of original writings and poems as well as poems transcribed by Welsh from newspapers, books, and other primary sources. The collection also includes an autobiography most likely written by Welsh in his late teens. The series concludes with an itinerary of his travels from Washington, D.C. to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1844 and to Fort Smith, Arkansas as an itinerant laborer on the on the eve of outbreak of war with Mexico.
Admin/Biographical History
Thomas Welsh (1824-1863) was a Lancaster County native (born and raised in Columbia), who rose from hardscrabble origins to local fame, first as a Mexican War hero, and then as a brigadier general during the Civil War. He was well known and well respected as a no nonsense officer, for his leadership and gallantry in battle, for his dedication to the service of his country, and for his concern for the welfare of his men.
Welsh lost his father at the age of 2, and went to work to support his family at age 8. He had very little formal schooling, and was largely self-educated. In 1843, at age 19, he left Lancaster County for Washington City, then went west as an itinerant carpenter/laborer to Cincinnati, Little Rock, and Fort Smith.
When the Mexican War broke out in 1846, he enlisted in a Kentucky regiment, and was severely wounded at the battle of Buena Vista (1847) from which he never fully recovered. Returning home to Columbia, he re-enlisted as a second lieutenant, assigned to the 11th U.S. infantry regiment in Mexico City. Within days of his arrival in Mexico City, he was declared unfit for service on account of his battle wound, and sent home again.
Back in Columbia as a civilian, he dabbled in politics, and received a patronage job in the Pennsylvania Main Line of Public Works (the rail and canal system connecting Philadelphia and Pittsburgh). After several years, he opened up a grocery and dry goods store in Columbia's canal basin. He also became an insurance agent. In 1857, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and his reputation grew as a community leader. By 1860, he was president of the Borough Council, a founding member of the Columbia Board of Trade, Vice President of the Columbia Cricket Club, and a canal boat operator, in addition to a dry goods merchant, insurance agent, and Justice of the Peace. He had a wife, 5 surviving children, and legal guardianship of his sister's 4 children.
When Confederate forces shelled Fort Sumter, marking the beginning of the Civil War, Thomas Welsh raised and organized the first company of volunteers from Lancaster County, and took them into the field as their Captain. Within days, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, which served out its 90-day enlistment in the Shenandoah Valley.
Returning to Harrisburg, he was appointed Commandant of Camp Curtin, the problem-plagued processing center for new recruits. In short order, Welsh cleaned up the camp's poor sanitary conditions, improved the health of the camp, and implemented soldierly discipline and training.
In October 1861, he resigned from his camp duties, and as Colonel of the 45th Pennsylvania, led his regiment into the field. After brief service outside of Washington, they were sent to South Carolina in December, where they were posted to Otter Island. After the battle of James Island, they were recalled to Newport News, in July 1862, then sent to guard Aquia Creek.
In September, now in brigade command in Burnsides' 9th Corps, Welsh chased Lee's Confederate army west into central Maryland. His brigade broke the enemy line in Fox's Gap, on Sept. 14, then 3 days later achieved the furthest Union advance at Antietam, reaching the edge of Sharpsburg, and nearly cutting off Lee's only avenue of escape. Welsh's gallantry earned him a field promotion to brigadier general, which Congress confirmed on March 13, 1863.
The 9th Corps (Welsh now in command of the 1st Division) was sent west in the spring of 1863, then dispatched south to support Grant's investment of Vicksburg. After Vicksburg fell, they turned east and defeated Confederate General Johnston at the Battle of Jackson. Welsh contracted malaria in the southern swamps, and died in Cincinnati upon their return north. One of his men later recalled, "Had he lived, Welsh would undoubtedly have attained a much higher command. 1
1. Beauge, Eugene, in Albert, Allen D., Ed., History of the Forty-Fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 1861-1865, Williamsport, PA: Grit Publ. Co, 1912, p. 79.
Custodial History
Cataloged by Richard C. Wiggin prior to donation.
System of Arrangement
The collection is arranged in series:
Series A Thomas Welsh before the Mexican War
Series B Mexican War, 1846-1848
Series C Between the Mexican War and the Civil War, 1848-1861
Series D Ciivil War
Series E Post-Civil War
Series F Miscellaneous Family Papers
Date Range
1839-1845
Creation Date
1839-1845
Year Range From
1839
Year Range To
1845
Creator
Wiggin, Richard C.
People
Welsh, Thomas
Subjects
Autobiography
Poetry
Search Terms
Autobiography
Poetry
Extent
2 folders
Object Name
Archive
Language
English
Condition
Fair to good
Object ID
MG0828_SeriesA
Parent Object ID
MG0828
Classification
MG0828
Location
LancasterHistory
Room
Archives North
Container
MG0828 Box 1
Notes
Added to PP 12/19/2020 by HST
Provenance: Passed down through the family, Blanton Charles Welsh to Emilie Benson (Welsh) Wiggin to Nancy Jane (Wiggin) Townsend. Acquired from: Chuck Townsend, Knoxville, Tennessee, 2016/05/15.
Access Conditions / Restrictions
Please use digital images and transcriptions when available. Original documents may be used by appointment. Please contact research@lancasterhistory.org at least two weeks prior to visit.
Copyright
Images have been provided for research purposes only. Please contact research@lancasterhistory.org for a high-resolution image and permission to publish.
LancasterHistory retains the rights to the digital images and content presented. The doctrine of fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder. Fair use includes comment, criticism, teaching, and private scholarship. Any images and data downloaded, printed or photocopied for these purposes should provide a citation. All other uses beyond those allowed by fair use require written permission.
Permission for reproduction and/or publication must be obtained in writing from LancasterHistory. Some items are photocopies from other collections--researchers must obtain permission for reproduction and publication from the owner of the original material.
Persons wishing to publish any material from this site must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright or other use restrictions. Publication fees may apply.
Credit
Courtesy of LancasterHistory, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Less detail
Collection
James Buchanan Family Papers
Object ID
JBFP Part 1 Series 4
  1 document  
Description Level
Series
Collection
James Buchanan Family Papers
Description
The James Buchanan Family Papers, Part 1, Papers of James Buchanan, Series 4, contains the speeches and Buchanan's other writings. The collection is arranged into two subseries, separating speeches and other writings. Subseries 1 contains Buchanan's printed speech in Greensburg, Pa. on 7 October, 1852, supporting candidate Franklin Pierce. In Subseries 2 Buchanan explains his role in seeking the appointments of William C. Frazer, Capt. John Steele, and Roland A. Luther for federal office and his reasons for non-payment of personal property taxes in Lancaster while residing in Washington, D. C. ca.1846. It also contains a poem attributed to Buchanan.
Admin/Biographical History
James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791 to James Buchanan and Elizabeth Speer. He was the second child born out of ten children, and he would go on to outlive all but one of his siblings. Most popularly remembered as Pennsylvania's only President and as a lifelong bachelor, Buchanan committed a lifetime to politics. In 1821, he left his law practice and embarked on his political career after having been voted into the U.S. House of Representatives. He would remain in the House for five consecutive terms before serving as the U.S. Minister to Russia, a Senator in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Minister to Great Britain, and finally, the 15th President of the United States. He died in his bedchamber at Wheatland at 8:30 AM on June 1, 1868. He was 77 years old. [https://www.lancasterhistory.org/about-wheatland, accessed 10/24/2019]
Custodial History
The James Buchanan Family Papers were collected by the James Buchanan Foundation for the Preservation of Wheatland. This collection was relocated from the Wheatland mansion to the LancasterHistory archives in the Spring of 2009. Digitization of the James Buchanan Family Papers was funded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, PHMC Appl ID # 201808013051, 2019-2020.
System of Arrangement
JBFP Part 1 Series 4 Speeches and Writings
Subseries 1 Speeches
Subseries 2 Other Writings
Year Range From
1842
Year Range To
1857
Creator
Buchanan, James, 1791-1868
People
Buchanan, James
Frazer, William Clark
Steele, John
Luther, Roland A.
Other Creators
James Buchanan Foundation for the Preservation of Wheatland (Lancaster, Pa.)
Subjects
Appointment to office
Inauguration
Poetry
Presidents--United States--Inaugural addresses
Real property tax
Speeches
Whig Party (U.S.)
Buchanan, James, 1791-1868
Search Terms
Buchanan Collections
Finding aids
Inaugural addresses
Inauguration
James Buchanan
Manuscript groups
Poetry
Political appointments
Real property tax
Speeches
Whig Party
James Buchanan Presidential Library
Extent
1 box, 5 folders
Object Name
Archive
Language
English
Object ID
JBFP Part 1 Series 4
Location
LancasterHistory
Room
Archives South
Wall
Side 18
Associated Material
James Buchanan Papers, Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections http://archives.dickinson.edu/collection-descriptions/james-buchanan-papers
James Buchanan and Harriet Lane Johnston Papers, Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/collections/james-buchanan-and-harriet-lane-johnston-papers/
James Buchanan Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/b/Buchanan0091.html
James Buchanan Papers, Penn State University Libraries, https://libraries.psu.edu/findingaids/1458.htm
Related Item Notes
James Buchanan Family Papers
James Buchanan Collection, MG0096
Historical Society of Pennsylvania microfilm
Photograph collections
Curatorial collections
Wheatland Mansion
Access Conditions / Restrictions
Please use digital images and transcriptions when available.
Original documents may be used by appointment. Please contact archives@lancasterhistory.org at least two weeks prior to visit.
Copyright
Images have been provided for research purposes only.
LancasterHistory retains the rights to the digital images and content presented. The doctrine of fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder. Fair use includes comment, criticism, teaching, and private scholarship. Any images and data downloaded, printed or photocopied for these purposes should provide a citation. All other uses beyond those allowed by fair use require written permission.
Permission for reproduction and/or publication must be obtained in writing from LancasterHistory. Some items are photocopies from other collections--researchers must obtain permission for reproduction and publication from the owner of the original material. Persons wishing to publish any material from this site must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright or other use restrictions. Publication fees may apply.
Please contact archives@lancasterhistory.org for a high-resolution image and permission to publish.
Credit
Courtesy of LancasterHistory, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Documents
Less detail
Collection
James Buchanan Family Papers
Object ID
JBFP Part 4 Series 3
  1 document  
Description Level
Series
Collection
James Buchanan Family Papers
Description
James Buchanan Family Papers, Part 4 Papers of Edward Young Buchanan, Series 3 contains the ephemera and official documents of Edward Young Buchanan. This series includes diplomas, a letter awarding Induction into the Belles Lettres Society of Dickinson College, various pastoral records, and a photocopy of a student booklist with a poem by Elizabeth Buchanan. The dates range from 1832 to 1891.
Admin/Biographical History
Reverend Edward Young Buchanan (1811-1895) was born on May 30, 1811 in Mercersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. He was the child of James Buchanan (1761-1821) and Elizabeth Speer Buchanan (1767-1833). He was the younger brother of President James Buchanan (1791-1868). He went to college at Dickinson College. He later became a reverend.
In 1833, he married Anne Eliza Foster Buchanan (1812-1891), and together they had six children: Ann Elizabeth (1838-1927), Harriet (1841-1912), Henrietta Jane (1844-1906), Marie Lois (1847-1920), William Foster (1849-1875), and Alice Conyngham (1852-1931).
Rev. Edward Young Buchanan died on January 25, 1895.
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/84177259/edward-young-buchanan#source
Custodial History
The James Buchanan Family Papers were collected by the James Buchanan Foundation for the Preservation of Wheatland. This collection was relocated from the Wheatland mansion to the LancasterHistory archives in the Spring of 2009. Digitization of the James Buchanan Family Papers was funded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, PHMC Appl ID # 201808013051, 2019-2020.
System of Arrangement
JBFP Part 4 Series 3 Ephemera and Official Documents
Year Range From
1832
Year Range To
1891
Creator
Buchanan, Edward Y. (Edward Young), 1811-1895
People
Buchanan, Elizabeth
Buchanan, Edward Young
Other Creators
James Buchanan Foundation for the Preservation of Wheatland (Lancaster, Pa.)
Subjects
Buchanan, Edward Y. (Edward Young), 1811-1895
Diplomas
Poetry
Clergy, Writings of
Search Terms
James Buchanan
Harriet Lane Johnston
Buchanan Collections
Diplomas
Poetry
Clergy, Writings of
Sermons
Finding aids
Manuscript groups
James Buchanan Presidential Library
Extent
1 box, 6 folders, .25 cubic ft.
Object Name
Archive
Language
English
Object ID
JBFP Part 4 Series 3
Location
LancasterHistory
Room
Archives South
Wall
Side 18
Associated Material
James Buchanan Papers, Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections http://archives.dickinson.edu/collection-descriptions/james-buchanan-papers
James Buchanan and Harriet Lane Johnston Papers, Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/collections/james-buchanan-and-harriet-lane-johnston-papers/
James Buchanan Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/b/Buchanan0091.html
James Buchanan Papers, Penn State University Libraries, https://libraries.psu.edu/findingaids/1458.htm
Related Item Notes
James Buchanan Family Papers
James Buchanan Collection, MG0096
Historical Society of Pennsylvania microfilm
Photograph collections
Curatorial collections
Wheatland Mansion
Access Conditions / Restrictions
Please use digital images and transcriptions when available.
Original documents may be used by appointment. Please contact archives@lancasterhistory.org at least two weeks prior to visit.
Copyright
Images have been provided for research purposes only.
LancasterHistory retains the rights to the digital images and content presented. The doctrine of fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder. Fair use includes comment, criticism, teaching, and private scholarship. Any images and data downloaded, printed or photocopied for these purposes should provide a citation. All other uses beyond those allowed by fair use require written permission.
Permission for reproduction and/or publication must be obtained in writing from LancasterHistory. Some items are photocopies from other collections--researchers must obtain permission for reproduction and publication from the owner of the original material. Persons wishing to publish any material from this site must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright or other use restrictions. Publication fees may apply.
Please contact archives@lancasterhistory.org for a high-resolution image and permission to publish.
Credit
Courtesy of LancasterHistory, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Documents
Less detail